Foundation of Jesus College, Oxford

Foundation of Jesus College, Oxford

As princess, Elizabeth’s classically oriented education is well documented, as are her intellectual gifts; therefore, it would not have been viewed remarkable that as queen she expressed the intent to charter an establishment for higher education stressing orthodox religious learning linked with a humanist element. The document, after an allusion to the prosperous reign and favor of the Almighty,* lays down the dedication or rather vision

“’…to the Glory of God Almighty and Omnipotent, and for the spread and maintenance of the Christian religion in its sincere form, for the eradication of errors and heresies, for the increase and perpetuation of true loyalty, for the extension of good literature of every sort, for the knowledge of languages, for the education of youth in loyalty, morality, and methodical learning, for the relief of poverty and distress, and lastly for the benefit and well-being of the Church of Christ in our realms, […] we have decreed that a College of learning in the sciences, philosophy, humane pursuits, knowledge of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages, to the ultimate profession of Sacred Theology, to last for all time to come, be created, founded, built, and established….’**Elizabeth I, 27 June 1571” (“All the Welshmen Abiding and Studying in Oxford”).

Quite an ambitious set of goals.  Elizabeth, in the context of all the ecclesiastical changes occurring in England, was taking an important step by establishing the first Protestant College in Oxford. The Charter language was not ambiguous; its purpose, clearly stated above, was for the “benefit and well-being of the Church of Christ in our realms.”’ Clergymen were, consequently, to be educated beyond theology in an array of subjects from the sciences to Hebrew.  Interestingly, although as the first Protestant ‘Renaissance’ institution Jesus College was important, a more direct influence on the college was the attraction of Welsh scholars (to be discussed later in fuller detail).

While commonly called Jesus College, Oxford, its formal name is quite impressive: “Collegium Jhesus infra civitatem et Universitatem Oxoniae ex fundatione Reginae Elizabethae, Anglice vero [Jhesus College wythin the Citie and Universitie of Oxforth, of Quene Elizbethe’s fundacion]” (Statutes of the Colleges of Oxford 5). Organized by the Letters Patent to consist of a Principal, eight Fellows and eight Scholars, the college would be given the “usual corporate rights of holding, defending, acquiring and alienating property, ut pars, parcella et membrum ejusdem Universitatis’” and empowered to “accept a bequest from Price of £60 a year, and other property up to £100” per annum from beneficiaries (Salter and Lobel).  Included in the charter was the permission to acquire the site and buildings of White Hall and to appoint eight commissioners to draw up the statutes for the governing of the college.  All the appointees would be “according to Dr. Price’s mind” (Ingram 37).

Location of Jesus College

“Dr. Price had already fixed upon the site of his College when he made his ‘humble petition’ to the Queen, and we find it specified in the Letters Patent ‘in fundo solo situ et procinetu nuper Aulae nostrae vulgariter nuncupatae White Hall’; while the Charter formally grants to the new College:

totam ilam domum situm septum ambitum circuitum et procinctum dictae nuper Aulae vulgariter nuncupatae White Hall…cum omnibus et singulis suis juribus membris et pertinentiis universis et cum omnibus antiquis privilegiis, libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus ejusdem Aulae” (Hardy 8-9)

The foundation charter listed out the space the college would physically occupy when Queen Elizabeth “gave the greatest parte of the ground whereupon the College is built” (Salter and Lobel).  In Oxford there had been many survivors of “previously much larger numbers of academic halls, which offered student accommodation but little formal discipline or teaching” although many of these halls were independent and had their own Principals (The Beginning). Despite the autonomy of the halls, oftentimes, individual colleges absorbed them. Dr.  Price’s task therefore, of locating a suitable site to provide for the physical aspect of his dream to “bestow his estate of the maintenance of certain scholars of Wales to be trained up in good letters” probably was not as difficult as may seem with multiple halls available (Ackermann 141).

Accordingly, has shown in the history of Jesus College, the lands Elizabeth I granted in her Royal Charter of Foundation, contained a “certain Religious House or Cell called Whyte Hall, (which before the Dissolution of Monastries belonged to the Priory of St. Frideswide) for the site of the College” (A Pocket Companion for Oxford 84). King Henry VIII and his Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, had ordered the investigation and eventual dissolution of the Augustinian Priory, St. Frideswide, which had been located in Oxford from the early 1100s upon the original site established by St. Frideswide for her more modest abbey in the 600s (St. Frideswide is the patron saint of the city and university of Oxford).  The King’s agents suppressed the Medieval priory in April of 1524 “in accordance with Wosley’s scheme for the erection upon its site of a great college” (“Houses of Augustinian Canons”).  Unfortunately for Wolsey, his fall and death prevented the final establishment of Cardinal College and eventually Henry VIII took advantage and created Christ College.  Many of the St. Frideswide buildings became part of the new institution after 1546.

Therefore, 25 years later when Dr. Price was searching for a location to establish Jesus College, White Hall, which dated back to the 13th century and was described as “a large tenement with a great stone gate”, was available (Jesus College, Oxford 29). The location of Jesus College on the “land which was given by the queen extended from Ship St. to Market St., and … was occupied by two tenements; on the north was Little White Hall, facing the city walls; on the south was Great White Hall in Market St. (or Chayny Lane) belonging to St. Frideswide’s” (Salter and Lobel).***  These two buildings along with Lawrence, part of Lincoln College, merged to be referred to as White Hall. Several other student hostels (one identified as Elm Hall, another Plummer) and a buttery, attached to White Hall all along Turl Street, were also added (Hardy 11 & 17, Allen 109, Moore 238, Chalmers 393 and Salter and Lobel).

E. G. Hardy, writing in his extensive history of Jesus College, does believe that the land “no doubt was purchased with Dr. Price’s money, and then generously bestowed upon the new College by its royal Foundress” (Hardy 11). Other sources, H. E. Salter and Mary Lobel amongst them, claim that the land was in the possession of the Crown after the dissolution of St. Frideswide and was simply granted by Elizabeth to Price. Regardless, property east of Great White Hall, “fronting Market St. and Turl St., and there built what the Benefactors Book calls ‘all the old Buildings towards ye East and South …. If the Benefactors Book is accurate, they must have been built between 1571 and 1574 when Price died” (Salter and Lobel). Regardless of whether Elizabeth donated the Crown lands or Price purchased them, it is clear that “the timber for building is said to have come partly from Shotover and Stow forests, grants being made by Queen Elizabeth for this purpose” (Oxford Architectural and Historical Society 186).

To ensure the rights to the properties, once the land was being populated with buildings, the College acquired a lease from Lincoln College for Laurence Hall (which was paid at £2 per annum until 1816–Salter and Lobel) plus paid a quit-rent to Christ Church for White Hall which was initially 26 shillings and 8 pence, but it had been reduced before 1631 and listed as 8 pence until 1833 when the property was purchased out-right (Jesus College, Oxford 31). Officially and charmingly, the land was described in Christ Church’s records as extending “from the Street to the Walnut tree; & in breadth from the Bowling Alley to the mud-wall, although no measurements were given” (Jesus College, Oxford 31).

Below is a portion of a bird’s eye view of Oxford looking from the north, originally drawn by Ralph Agas in 1578. Oxonia antiqua instaurata sive urbis & academiae Oxoniensis topografica delineatio olim a Radulpho Agas impressa A.D. 1578 nunc denuo aeri incisa A.D. MDCCXXII (1578). The original map was damaged, but it has been reproduced with this copy engraved by W. Williams in 1732. It shows streets and buildings pictorially – High Street runs from left to right with St Mary’s Church at the center. In the lower -right side can be seen the city wall with the North Gate just visible at the right” (Agas).  The new buildings of Jesus College “from the gateway to the corner of Cheyney Lane” [Market Street] are shown as is White Hall and some of the other Halls, at the corner of Ship Street—the rest of the site is still garden (Hardy 18-19).  Agas’s plan shows Laurence Hall as “an isolated group of buildings standing to the south and west of the present Ship Street/Turl Street corner” (Allen 110).
Allen map
Figure 1 — Allen, Brigid.  “The History of Jesus College, Oxford, 1571-1603.”  Oxoniensia, 108, Vol. LXIII, 1998. Oxoniensia.org.  Web. 22 June 2016. <http://oxoniensia.org/volumes/1998/allen.pdf>.

Above is a detail view from Ralph Agas’s 1578 plan of Oxford (looking south), showing (1) Laurence Hall, fronting Somnore Lane (Ship Street); (2) adjoining former buttery and hall of White Hall to west and Turl Street frontage to east; (4) former White Hall building, fronting Cheyney Lane (Market Street); (5) garden, possibly from St. Fridenswide’s Priory, extending southwards from Somnore Lane (Allen 108).

Ralph_Agas_map_of_Oxford_1578_Jesus_marked

Figure 2 —Map of Oxford. Part of Ralph Agas’s Map of Oxford (1578). North is at the Bottom. Jesus College, Oxford is Marked in Green. Digital image.  Wikipedia. Wikipedia.com, Aug. 2012. Web. 7 July 2016. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ralph_Agas_map_of_Oxford_1578_Jesus_marked.jpg>.

Jesus College save  Map data ©2016 Google

Figure 3— “Jesus College, Turl Street, Oxford, United Kingdom.” Map. Google Maps. Google, 25 July 2016. Web. 25 July 2016.

Foot Notes
*…‘tum contra illicitas enormitates et nefarios abusus, tum contra haereticum malignas et pestiferas impietates  (Statutes of the Colleges of Oxford 5)

**For the original Latin
Ad summi et omnipotentis Dei gloriam et honorem, ad Christianæ et sinceræ religionis amplificationem et stabilimentum, ad errorum et falsarum persuasionum extirpationem, ad augendum et continuandum pietatis cultum, ad omnis generis  bonarum literarum incrementa, ad linguarum congnitionem, ad juventutis in pietate et virtute ac disciplina et scientia educationem, ad pauperum et inopia afflictorum sublevationem, denique ad Ecclesiæ Christi regni nostri ac subitorum nostrorum communem utilitatem et felicitatem, [de gratia nostra speciali, et ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris], quoddam Collegium eruditionis scientiarum, philosophiæ, bonarum atrium, linguarum cognitionis Hebraicæ Græcæ et Latinæ, ad finalem sacræ theologiæ professionem, perpetuis futuris temporibus duraturum creari, erigi, fundari et stabiliri decrevimus
(“Statutes of Jesus College, Oxford V1.7 Statute One”).

***The main buildings of Jesus College are located in the centre of the city of Oxford, between Turl Street, Ship Street (also known as Somnore Lane and Jesus College Lane), Cornmarket Street, and Market Street (previously called Cheyney Lane).

References:

Illustrations:

Figure 1
Allen, Brigid.  “The History of Jesus College, Oxford, 1571-1603.”  Oxoniensia Vol. LXIII, 1998. Oxoniensia.org.  Web. 22 June 2016. <http://oxoniensia.org/volumes/1998/allen.pdf>.

Agas, Radulpho. Oxonia antiqua instaurata sive urbis & academiae Oxoniensis topografica delineatio olim a Radulpho Agas impressa A.D. 1578 nunc denuo aeri incisa A.D. MDCCXXII (1578). University of Oxford: Highlights of the Bodleian Library’s Map Collection. Shelfmark: Gough Maps Oxfordshire 4. Web. 7 July 2016. <http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/108771/Highlights-of-the-Bodleian-Librarys-Map-Collection-v1.pdf>.

Figure 2
Map of Oxford. Part of Ralph Agas’s Map of Oxford (1578). North is at the Bottom. Jesus College, Oxford is Marked in Green. Digital Image.  Wikipedia. Wikipedia.com, Aug. 2012. Web. 7 July 2016. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ralph_Agas_map_of_Oxford_1578_Jesus_marked.jpg&gt;.

Figure 3
Google Maps. “Jesus College, Turl Street, Oxford, United Kingdom.”  Map.
“Map data ©2016 Google.” 2016. Google Maps Web. 17 July 2016. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Jesus+College/@51.7538773,-1.258128,18z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x4876c6af745d6ae5:0xf4b0d23c6f0e9f15!8m2!3d51.7534359!4d-1.2568897

Works Cited:

Ackermann, R. “Jesus College.” A History of the University of Oxford Its Colleges, Halls and Public Buildings Volume II. London:  L. Harrison & J. C. Leigh, 1814. Google Book Search. Web. 17 July 2016. <https://books.google.com/books?id=hBZPAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA236&dq=history+of+oxford+ackermann&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiy5oj3yf3NAhXK1CYKHcfTBQ8Q6AEIJzAC#v=onepage&q=history%20of%20oxford%20ackermann&f=false>.

Agas, Radulpho. Oxonia antiqua instaurata sive urbis & academiae Oxoniensis topografica delineatio olim a Radulpho Agas impressa A.D. 1578 nunc denuo aeri incisa A.D. MDCCXXII (1578). University of Oxford: Highlights of the Bodleian Library’s Map Collection. Shelfmark: Gough Maps Oxfordshire 4. Web. 7 July 2016. <http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/108771/Highlights-of-the-Bodleian-Librarys-Map-Collection-v1.pdf>.

“All the Welshmen Abiding and Studying in Oxford: Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion 1986.” Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru.  Aberystwyth: The National Library of Wales, 2009.  Cylchgoronau Cymru Ar-lein, Welsh Journals Online.org. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. <http://welshjournals.llgc.org.uk/browse/viewpage/llgc-id:1386666/llgc-id:1422443/llgc-id:1422616/getText>.

Allen, Brigid.  “The History of Jesus College, Oxford, 1571-1603.”  Oxoniensia Vol. LXIII, 1998. Oxoniensia.org.  Web. 22 June 2016. <http://oxoniensia.org/volumes/1998/allen.pdf>.

“The Beginning.” Jesus College Oxford. Jesus College Oxford.ac.uk. 2016. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <http://www.jesus.ox.ac.uk/about/the-beginning>.

 Oxford Architectural and Historical Society.  “Walks and Excursions, Lent Term, 1883. Saturday, Feb.17, 1883.” Proceedings of the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society, New Series, Vol. IV, 1880 to 1885. Oxford: Parker and Co.,1885. Google Book Search. Web. 19 July 2016. <https://books.google.com/books?id=QjUGAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA239&dq=Proceedings+and+Excursions+of+the+Oxford+Architectural+and+St.+Frideswide&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjT4u21tILOAhUBwiYKHVQ_DewQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=Proceedings%20and%20Excursions%20of%20the%20Oxford%20Architectural%20and%20St.%20Frideswide&f=false>.

Cook, John Douglas, et al. “Jesus College, Oxford.” The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, Volume 89: 532. London:  The Saturday Review, 28 Apr.1900. Google Book Search. Web. 24 June 2016. <https://books.google.com/books?id=84s_AQAAIAAJ&pg=PA532&lpg=PA532&dq=second+letters+patent+jesus+college+oxford+1589&source=bl&ots=EtyuDCz0-h&sig=aS3yZPIvIfC8SG4i5T-GphjN8HI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwipq52H0MPNAhWJKyYKHcVpBjEQ6AEIJDAC#v=onepage&q=second%20letters%20patent%20jesus%20college%20oxford%201589&f=false>.

Fuller, Thomas.  “The Church-History of Britain from the Birth of Jesus Christ Until the Year M.DC.XLVIII.” 1845 Edition. Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1845. Text Creation  Partnership.org, 2005-2012. Web. 4 July 2016. <http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A40655.0001.001/1:91?rgn=div1;view=fulltext>.

Google Maps. “Map data ©2016 Google.” 2016. Google Maps Web. 17 July 2016. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Jesus+College/@51.7538773,-1.258128,18z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x4876c6af745d6ae5:0xf4b0d23c6f0e9f15!8m2!3d51.7534359!4d-1.2568897

Hardy, E. G. Jesus College. University of Oxford, College Histories. London:  F. E. Robison and Co., 1899. Archive.org. Web. 22 June 2016. <https://archive.org/details/jesuscollege08hard>.

“Houses of Augustinian Canons: The Priory of St Frideswide, Oxford.” A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2. Ed. William Page. London: Victoria County History, 1907. 97-101. British History Online. Web. 14 July 2016. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol2/pp97-101.

Ingram, James, Ed. “Jesus College.” Memorials of Oxford Volume II.  Oxford:  John Henry Parker, 1837. Google Book Search. Web. 16 July 2016. <https://books.google.com/books?id=6jkuAAAAMAAJ&pg=PR166&lpg=PR166&dq=bestow+his+estate+of+the+maintenance+of+certain+scholars+of+Wales+to+be+trained+up+in+good+letters&source=bl&ots=KeEl-ESiyE&sig=liLIIQ0uupOTq-iZ_P5U_Cp6uSA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjp8eIvv3NAhXF0iYKHR7lCmEQ6AEIKjAE#v=onepage&q=bestow%20his%20estate%20of%20the%20maintenance%20of%20certain%20scholars%20of%20Wales%20to%20be%20trained%20up%20in%20good%20letters&f=false>.

Jesus College, Oxford. Ed.Wikipedians. Google Book Search. Web. 5 Feb.2016. Map of Oxford. Part of Ralph Agas’s Map of Oxford (1578). North is at the Bottom. Jesus College, Oxford is Marked in Green. Digital image.  Wikipedia. Wikipedia.com, Aug. 2012. Web. 7 July 2016. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ralph_Agas_map_of_Oxford_1578_Jesus_marked.jpg&gt;.

Moore, James.  The Historical Handbook and Guide to Oxford:  Embracing a Succinct History of the University and City from the Year 912, Second Edition. Oxford: Thomas Shrimpton & Son, 1878. Google Book Search. Web. 17 July 2016.

Oxford Architectural and Historical Society.  “Walks and Excursions, Lent Term, 1883. Saturday, Feb.17, 1883.” Proceedings of the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society, New Series, Vol. IV, 1880 to 1885. Oxford: Parker and Co.,1904. Google Book Search. Web. 19 July 2016.<https://books.google.com/books?id=QjUGAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA239&dq=Proceedings+and+Excursions+of+the+Oxford+Architectural+and+St.+Frideswide&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjT4u21tILOAhUBwiYKHVQ_DewQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=Proceedings%20and%20Excursions%20of%20the%20Oxford%20Architectural%20and%20St.%20Frideswide&f=false>.

Plummer, Charles, ed. Elixabethan Oxford:  Reprints of Rare Tracts. Oxford: Oxford Historical Society, 1887. Archive.org.  Web. 25 June 2016.

A Pocket Companion for Oxford:  Or, Guide Through the University. Oxford:  Clarendon Printing House, 1766. Google Book Search. Web. 23 Feb. 2016. <https://books.google.com/books?id=AZYDAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=jesus+college+oxford&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirjN6LtMjJAhUJaT4KHesUAgg4WhDoAQg3MAI#v=onepage&q=jesus%20college%20oxford&f=false>.

Salter, H. E. and Mary D. Lobel led. “Jesus College.” A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3, The University of Oxford. London: Victoria County History, 1954. 264-279. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2016. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol3/pp264-279. 

Statutes of the Colleges of Oxford; with Royal Patents of Foundation, Injunctions of Visitors, and Catalogues of Documents Relating to the University, Preserved in the Public Record Office Vol. III. Oxford: J. H. Parker, 1853. Web. Google Book Search.  17 July 2016.

“Statutes of Jesus College, Oxford V1.7 Statute One.” Jesus College, Oxford.  Jesus College, Oxford.ac. Web. 25 June 2016. <http://www.jesus.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/all_statutes_071015.pdf>.

“Statutes of Jesus College, Oxford V1.7 Statute Two.” Jesus College, Oxford.  Jesus College, Oxford.ac. Web. 25 June 2016. <http://www.jesus.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/all_statutes_071015.pdf>.

“Statutes of Jesus College, Oxford V1.7 Statute Fourteen.” Jesus College, Oxford.  Jesus College, Oxford.ac. Web. 25 June 2016. <http://www.jesus.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/all_statutes_071015.pdf>.

“Visual Arts and the Gothic.” Gothic Literature: A Gale Critical Companion. Ed. Jessica Bomarito. Vol. 1: Topics. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 475-526. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.

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Path to St. Peter ad Vincula Part VII – E

Path to St. Peter ad Vincula Part VII – E

Although as Queen, Anne expected strict moral behavior from her women and was well known for performing charitable works — even making garments for the poor herself, she could never overcome the reputation of a calculating flirt.

Anne played the game.  She became the “finished coquette, playing fast and loose, hot and cold, as Henry appeared more or less urgent and enamored.”  She also encouraged the addresses of Wyatt and “inflamed Henry’s passions to the height of jealous fury” (Herbert, Henry 340).  Anne was indeed playing with fire as most of her contemporaries would not have appreciated nor accepted the idea of a young, unmarried girl flirting with married men.  She was tarnishing her reputation to such a degree that in 1536 it was easy for most people to accept her guilty of the licentious behavior she was accused of committing.  Many never questioned it because she had spent her formative years in France and everyone knew what had happened there. When she was “sent to France; where also she behav’d her self so licentiously, that she was vulgarly call’d the Hackney of England, till being adopted to that Kings Familiarity, she was termed his mule” (Herbert, Edward 286-287).

anneboleyn
Anne Boleyn

Upon her return from France, Lord Percy expressed an interest in Anne “but Misstris Bolen, whether she were ignorant, as yet, how much the King loved her, or howsoever had rather be that Lords Wife, than a Kings Misstris, took very ill of the Cardinal this his unreasonable Interruption of her Marriage” (Herbert, Edward 286).  Therefore, Anne was all set to marry Henry Percy but for the intervention of Cardinal Wolsey whom she never did forget nor forgive.

Why would she not have preferred to be the wife of Lord Percy or any other gentlemen rather than the King’s mistress? This blogger must concede that from the time period in which she lived, Anne relinquishing her honor to Henry before their marriage would have been viewed as wanton. Even her Protestant supporters would have been shocked by her behavior.  We can surmise that Anne did not spend six years balancing the King’s passion for her with her chastity to casually surrender one of her most valuable assets.  She has been defended that “up to this time, Anne’s conduct was irreproachable, and it is unmanly, as well as unjust, to attribute baseness, where no baseness is shown” (Herbert, Henry 338). Both she and Henry had to have been pretty certain that his divorce from Katherine was imminent before they committed to a physical relationship.  This action though would taint her image and encourage gossip.

lord percy
Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland

Carlo Capello, the Venetian Ambassador to England, wrote to his superiors a description of Anne Boleyn in late October of 1532, close to the time Henry and Anne’s relationship changed.  “Madam Anne is not one of the handsomest women in the world; she is of middling stature, swarthy complexion, long neck, wide mouth, bosom not much raised, and in fact has nothing but the English King’s great appetite, and her eyes, which are black and beautiful” (Brown IV 824).  Lancelot de Carle, later the Bishop of Riez, said Anne’s eyes were her most attractive feature “always most attractive which she knew well now to use with effect.  Sometimes leaving them at rest and at others, sending a message to carry the secret witness of the heart.  And, truth to tell, such was their power that many surrendered to their obedience” (Riehl 24).  Modern language would refer to her as having star-power or charisma  which was unsettling to people and affected her reputation. Even one of her greatest distracters acknowledged that she was “amusing in her ways” (Sander 25). Nothing less would have kept a man like Henry enthralled and enamored with only her eyes to credit for it.

Anne certainly knew how to make the most of herself.  “She was the model and the mirror of those who were at court, for she was always well dressed, and every day made some change in the fashion of her garments” (Sander 25).  Anne played “well on the lute, and was a good dancer” (Sander 25). Yet, were these talents enough?  Harpsfield questioned how Henry could put aside the virtuous Katharine “for such an incestuous woman, being in all other qualities beside so far inferior to her, as she was in very chastity itself” (Harpsfield 255).  Once again, we are back to the issue of Anne’s reputation.  When the charges against Anne were brought forward, many courtiers who had responded with ‘obedience’ to the pull of her personality needed to justify their actions.  Thus, witchcraft, dishonesty and duplicity were brought forward as rationales.

Anne Boleyn Bendor
Recently confirmed portrait of Anne Boleyn, Royal Collection Archives
http://www.arthistorynews.com/articles/894_Anne_Boleyn_regains_her_head

People felt the need even to justify their religious views. Those who did not support the Reformation said “it now appeared how bad that cause was which was supported by such a patron.  But it was answered, that her faults could not reflect on those who, being ignorant of them,” had supported her. (Burnet 115).  People who were less evangelical raised their “hopes of a reaction built on the fall of those ‘apostles of the new sect,’ Anne Boleyn and her relatives…” but those hopes, “were promptly and roughly destroyed” (Pollard 349).

Understanding the religious differences between Anne’s more evangelical leanings and others of the time (be it moderate Protestants and Roman Catholics) one should realize that she was “her Religion, there is no probability that it should (at first) be other than what was commonly profest” (Herbert, Edward 287).  Besides, her views were popular with many in power at the time as she promoted those clergy who shared her ideas.  It is apparent from “original Letters of hers, that she was a special Favourer of the Clergy of that time, and a preferrer of the worthiest sort of them of Ecclesiastical Livings, during her chief times of Favour with the King” (Herbert, Edward 287).

Those of the old faith were much more vocal against Anne Boleyn, “damned as the cause of all the trouble” (Haigh 141). Anne was blamed for the deaths of Thomas More and Bishop Fisher.  Nevertheless she did not leave off her evil conversation, which at length brought her to shame” (Gairdner X 1036).

thomas morejohn fisher
            Sir Thomas More                         John Fisher

Her religious views were not of the extreme variety at the time (although more so than Henry’s).  While she would have created enemies from those who staunchly followed the ‘old faith,’ she did not initially upset people on religious grounds. Her abrasive personality, her willfulness, and her flirtatiousness were things that created negative responses from people.

We see Anne’s elevation was opposed for her religious views and mostly for her lack of virtue as seen in the eyes of the people of the 16th century.  An interesting emphasis placed on the international element comes from Henry William Herbert.  He asserts that Cardinal Wolsey opposed Anne not because of her religious views nor because of her personally; he opposed her elevation because she was not of foreign royal blood.  Her acquisition of the throne would “alienate and affront foreign Princes, breed intestine strifes, and give undue preponderance in the state, to private families” (Herbert, Henry 340). This interpretation proves interesting.  Anne’s preference for France and Cromwell’s (remember Cromwell was Wolsey’s protégé) for the Imperial faction has been previously discussed as an element in Anne’s downfall in the blog entry Path to St. Peter ad Vincula: Part IV.   Here is another case of the interplay between national, even personal policy and foreign policy.  The King was a being of State.  What he did or did not do effected diplomacy—both foreign and domestic.  To marry a subject created discord amongst the English themselves and frustration with foreign nations as the perceived thwart to their ambitions.  In Henry VIII’s immediate predecessors we have examples of what Wolsey feared—strife within the English aristocracy and disgruntled foreign courts.  Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville, yes; Richard III’s wife, Anne Neville, yes; and Henry VII’s wife, Elizabeth of York, yes—although the marriage was contracted as a way to end the factional warfare.

Thomas wolsey
Cardinal Wosley
For References, please refer to the blog entry, Path to St. Peter ad Vincula-Part I

 

Path to St. Peter ad Vincula Part VII – B

Path to St. Peter ad Vincula Part VII – B

Ambassador Chapuys was comfortable with sharing any and all versions of the truth that reached his ears.  According to the Spaniard, Henry was declared the lover of Mary Boleyn and her mother, Elizabeth; Anne was declared the King’s daughter; Elizabeth was declared Norris’s child; and, Protestantism was declared responsible for the loose morals which led to these scandals.  In fact, Chapuys reported to Bishop Grenville on May 19, 1536, that the religious leaders Anne promoted “persuaded the Concubine that she had no need to confess, she grew more audacious in vice; and, moreover, they persuaded her that according to the said sect it was lawful to seek aid elsewhere, even from her own relations, when her husband was not capable of satisfying her” (Gairdner X 909).  This was quite a condemnation to brandish about the international diplomatic community while encouraging the English peoples in the belief that “isolation and danger of England was all laid to her account” (Froude 386).

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Eustace Chapuys, Ambassador from Spain

In this accusatory atmosphere, Henry turned his attentions completely toward Jane Seymour.  “She was not witty either, or brilliant; but she was modest, quiet, with a strong understanding and rectitude of principle” (Froude 441-442). These qualities appear to have been what attracted her to the King. “Jane seems to have had no enemies, except Alexander Aless [a Scottish Protestant divine who was on the fringe of the events of 1536] who denounced her to Luther as an enemy to the Gospel, probably because she extinguished the shining light of Anne Boleyn” (Pollard 347). There was “no sign that she herself sought so questionable an elevation. A powerful party in the State wished her to accept a position which could have few attractions, and she seems to have acquiesced without difficulty” (Froude 444).  For a more detailed account of Henry’s relationship with Jane at this juncture, see the blog entry Path to St. Peter ad Vincular Part VI-E.

Not surprisingly, Eustace Chapuys played both angles.  Although he did write to Charles V that Henry’s pursuit of Jane while Anne was still alive and imprisoned “sounds ill in the ears of the people” (Gairdner X 908).  He addressed Henry with great sympathy assuring the King that he had been blessed, as many “great and good men, even emperors and kings, have suffered from the arts of wicked women.”  The Ambassador felt it was “greatly to Henry’s credit that he detected and punished conspiracy before it came to light otherwise” (Gairdner X 1071).

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Jane Seymour

The conspiracy was the adultery committed by Anne.  Surprisingly, Henry dissolved their marriage two days before her death, yet, executed her for adultery.  Why divorce her “when the sword divorced them absolutely” (Gairdner XI 41)? There never was an official reason for the divorce.  No mention was made of the cause for the dissolution of the marriage except that it was the “consequence of certain just and lawful impediments which, it was said, were unknown at the time of the union but had lately been confessed to the Archbishop by the lady herself” (Wriothesley 41).  Therefore, Anne’s reputation was further sullied.  The implication was that the Court did not know of the impediments to her marriage to Henry but she most certainly did and had gone through with it anyway.  Archbishop Cranmer urged Anne to face the marriage tribunal “that it might be for the salvation of their souls” (Wriothesley 40).

As mentioned in the blog entry,Path to St. Peter ad Vincula-Part VI-F, if Anne and Henry were never legally married then it is impossible that she could be tried and executed for adultery.  Yet, her reputation was such that stories such as these were given credence.

With such an attitude toward Anne, observers had their theories for the divorce.  As previously shown, Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, believed it “was a privie contract approved that she had made to the Earle of Northumberlande afore the Kings tyme, and she was discharged, and never lawfull Queene of England” (Wriothesley 41).  Chapuys wrote to Charles V that he had “been informed that the said archbishop of Canterbury had pronounced the marriage of the King and of his mistress to have been unlawful and nul in consequence of the King himself having had connexion with Anne’s sister, and that both he and she being aware and well acquainted with such an impediment, the good faith of the parents could not possibly legitimize the daughter” (Gairdner X 54). “The statute declaring the Concubine’s daughter princess and lawful heir has been repealed, and she has been declared bastard” (Gairdner XI 41).   As an aside here, Henry never disowned Elizabeth, he believed her to be his daughter, and he simply wanted her declared illegitimate to ensure that any issue (meaning sons) from further marriages would be the legal heirs.

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Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

No official record emerged with an actual description for the impediment.  Did the Council members appeal to Parliament to trust their conclusions and pass the statute to end the marriage (which was done in June after Anne’s execution)?  Was Henry’s goal to illegitimate Elizabeth and ensure any children of successive unions the right to the throne?  Either a pre-contract or consanguinity would have proved effective for that purpose.  So even Anne’s divorce was cloaked in intrigue and the information presented with it was designed to throw further guilt and suspicion upon her.

“On the day of the execution, Henry the Eight put on white for mourning, as though he would have said, ‘I am innocent of this deed:’ and the next day was married to Jane Seymour” (Ellis 66).  Although his wearing white was corroborated in other sources, it appears as if Henry held off marrying Jane Seymour until the end of May although they were pledged on May 20, 1536. Imperial sources claimed that after hearing of Anne’s execution, Henry “entered his barge and went to the said Semel [Jane Seymour], whom he had lodged a mile from him, in a house by the river” (Gairdner X 926). Before Anne’s death many at Court knew there was “no doubt that he will take the said Semel to wife; and some think the agreements and promises already made” (Gairdner X 908). Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (who signed official documents from Lambeth as from Lamehithe by T. Cantuarien was listed as the source in this document as T. Cantuarien) delivered the official dispensation document on May 19, 1536, allowing “Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, to marry, although in the third and third degrees of affinity, without publication of banns” (Gairdner X 915).

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According to tradition, Henry VIII stood at this spot in the park of his Hunting Lodge at Richmond when Anne Boleyn was executed. 

Ambassador Chapuys wrote on May 20th to Cardinal Granvelle that he had been informed “that Mrs. Semel came secretly by river this morning to the King’s lodging, and that the promise and betrothal (desponsacion) was made at 9 o’clock” (Gairdner X 926). Chapuys knew that something was afoot as Henry had called for “Parliament to commence on the 8th proximo….” Chapuys held hope that “the Concubine’s little bastard will be excluded from the succession, and that the King will get himself requested by Parliament to marry” (Gairdner X 926).  Jane Seymour was Henry’s obvious choice despite his implying to foreign diplomats, especially Chapuys, that he would select a bride from the continent.  Chapuys did not fall for Henry’s pretense knowing that “to cover the affection he has for the said Semel he has lodged her seven miles hence in the house of the grand esquire, and says publicly that he has no desire in the world to get married again unless he is constrained by his subjects to do so” (Gairdner X 926).  The charade fooled no one. “The great concerns of nations are of more consequence to contemporary statesmen than the tragedies or comedies of royal households.  The great question of the hour was the alternative alliance with the Empire or with France” (Froude 403).  “To the Catholic she [Anne] was a diablesse, a tigress, the author of all the mischief which was befalling them and the realm.  By the prudent and the moderate she was almost equally disliked; the nation generally, and even Reformers like Cromwell and Cranmer, were Imperialist:  Anne Boleyn was passionately French” (Froude 385).  By marrying Jane Seymour, Henry put an end to the marriage machinations of the Empire and France.

On 30 May 1536, the “weke before Whitsontyde the kyng maryed lady Jane doughter to the right worshipfull sir John Seymour knight, whiche at Whitsontyde was openlye shewed as Queue. The viii. day of June the kyng held his high court of Parliament in the whiche Parliament the kynges two first manages, that is to say with the lady Katheryne, and with the lady Anne Bulleyn were both adjudged unlawful” (Hall 819).

For References, please refer to the blog entry, Path to St. Peter ad Vincula-Part I